lueurs de l'instant (2006-7)

string quartet

This piece was born out of considering how we perceive the present moment, drawing on Husserl's account of the temporal structure of consciousness: experience of the present also contains retention of what has just been and protention (anticipation) of what is just becoming. Our experience is not a succession of isolated "now" points, rather, contained within our pre-reflexive impression of the present, there is also the just-past-as-present and the about-to-be-as-present. Not that time is linear, rather each apparent moment has its own particular horizon. In other words, following the title of this piece, there are glimmers within the instant of the past and the future, and maybe even we only know instants as glimmers between our retentions and protentions.

This quartet explores this by using a notation that requires the performers to have their temporal experience during performance guide timing (rather than following a set predefined grid or metric), and by setting up listening situations where perception is directed towards becoming (protention) and disappearance (retention), and the resultant borderland of the instant. In listening, the piece is like an expanded moment, refracting retentions and protentions.

score here

Workshopped by Quatuor Danel, University of Manchester, UK (2007)

Performed by Jasmine Quartet, 'Around Sound' new music day, University of Manchester, UK (2007)